You didn’t fail at birth

You didn’t fail at birth

June 9, 2016

HandsDear Mama,

I need you to know something.  You didn’t fail at birth.

That beautiful birth you planned at the hospital with your partner.  The one where you labored quickly and easily and then started pushing, reveling in that primal power unleashed by a woman giving birth.  The one where your baby’s heart rate started decelerating and wouldn’t recover.  The one where you were rushed to the OR for an unplanned emergency Cesarean.  The one where you met your baby in an operating room instead of catching her with your own hands like you’d dreamed of.

You didn’t fail at birth.

That unmedicated birth you planned at a birth center.  The one with your favorite midwife in the big room with the beautiful jetted tub and the baby footprints on the wall. The one where you labored for 24 hours and tried everything to get your baby to descend. The one where you finally agreed to transfer to the hospital for intervention. The one where you got an unplanned epidural. The one where you pushed out your baby on a hospital bed in a room full of people and lights and white walls that you never wanted.

You didn’t fail at birth.

That quiet, hypnotic birth you planned at home.  The one where you planned to close your eyes and sway and hum and breathe your baby out.  The one where you yelled and growled and cursed.  The one where you cried and begged the midwife to get the baby out.

You didn’t fail at birth.

That vaginal birth you planned after a Cesarean with your first child.  The one where you hired a midwife and a doula.  The one where you took all the childbirth preparation classes and read all of Ina May’s books. The one where you saw a therapist to release fears and process birth trauma.  The one where you tried everything and your body didn’t progress past seven centimeters and you birthed by Cesarean a second time.

You didn’t fail at birth.

That birth you tried not to plan.  The one where you didn’t care who the provider was or where you gave birth or how you gave birth, just as long as your baby came out healthy.  The one where your baby didn’t come out healthy.

You didn’t fail at birth. 

It’s OK to cry.  It’s OK to grieve.  It’s OK to mourn the loss of this experience that was robbed of you.  But please, sweet mama, never doubt yourself.  Never feel like anything other than the warrior that you are. Allow yourself the same love and grace you will show your children. You are not a failure.

You didn’t fail at birth.

***

Diana Petersen received her journalism degree at the University of Arizona.  She is a DONA-certified doula and Lamaze-certified childbirth educator at Babymoon Inn, an accredited birth center in Phoenix, Arizona.  For more information about Babymoon Inn, please visit http://www.babymooninn.com.  To follow Babymoon Inn on Facebook, click here.

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